On Saturday, February 16, around 250 kids, parents, and industry professionals gathered at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for an inaugural youth event, dedicated to the pork industry. The Livestock Center was home to a skill-a-thon, hands-on activities, tradeshow booths, and a list of presenters all focused on pork education.
“IL Pork Youth Day”, as it has been termed, was created by the youth and education committee of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA). This committee consists of board members, industry representatives, and volunteers. Conversations around lack of labor in the livestock industry, plentiful jobs, and an abundance of youth interested in swine, sparked the idea to build a one-day event.
Participants were able to register for the event free of charge, courtesy of IPPA and multiple sponsors. Upon entry, youth were divided into two age divisions: Junior (8-13 years old) and Senior (14-18 years old). This allowed the events to be tailored to the audience at hand.
On one side of the livestock center participants were able to compete in a skill-a-thon. This event consisted of ten stations, each of which offered a worksheet that the student must complete and turn in for a grade. Topics included breed identification, cut of meat identification, feed labels, and vaccinations. At the end of the event, sheets were collected and the top three scores in each age division were awarded prizes.
Results of the Junior Division:
1st – Sarina Voegel of Sullivan, IL
2nd – Ravayah Eitenmiller of Tremont, IL
3rd – Dennis Rottman of Pierron, IL
Results of the Senior Division:
1st – Ellie Ferretti of Princeville, IL
2nd – Annie Johnson of Cambridge, IL
3rd – Lauren Mohr of Carlock, IL
On the opposite side of the livestock center, families were able to listen to presentations on various topics. Speakers included: Ty Engnell of Lindner Show Feeds on animal nutrition; Brian Arnold, Terry Moeller and Luke Wall of Zoetis on animal health; Todd Rodibaugh of National Pork Board on pork industry 101; and a career panel including Ashley Kauffman of ShowBloom, Dr. Wesley Lyons, DVM of Pipestone Veterinary Services, Heath Harper of U of I and Todd Rodibaugh.
A delicious pork burger lunch and door prizes were provided by IPPA to participants. Other sponsors of the event were: Zoetis, Lindner Show Feeds, Farm Credit Illinois, The Maschhoffs, Early Bird Nutrition, Sunglo, Show-Rite, Pro-Fit, The Equity and Pork Checkoff.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association would like to thank all the attendees for participating in the event and allowing us to spread our excitement for the pork industry.